the river woods were of Indian
and mosquito and of musketry
in eighteen sixty-two
                             the prairie
stockade was of cavalrymen and
the west wind and of their cannonry

the river woods are of mosquito
and heat and adhering quiet
in two thousand and twelve
                              the rebuilt
stockade is not of men or women
or the museum but of west wind

a cannonball in the river woods
a musket ball in the prairie dirt
to be found another time
                              not now


Rodney Nelson’s work began appearing in mainstream journals long ago; but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. He has worked as a copy editor in the Southwest and now lives in the northern Great Plains. Recently published chapbook and book titles are MetacowboyMogollon RimHill of Better SleepFelton Prairie, and In Wait. See his page in the Poets & Writers directory: